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Top Pipe Insulation Brands in the UK: An In-Depth Look

Top Pipe Insulation Brands in the UK: An In-Depth Look

Jonathan Hill |

Pipe insulation is crucial for controlling condensation, preventing heat loss, resisting corrosion, protecting personnel, and saving energy in HVAC systems, plumbing, and industrial applications. With rising energy costs and sustainability goals, effective insulation is essential.

There are several types of insulation materials and many brands to choose from in the UK pipe insulation market. This article provides an in-depth look at the origins, products, and advantages of the leading brands whose insulations keep the heat in and moisture out.

Background on Major UK Pipe Insulation Brands

Rockwool

Founded in Denmark in 1909, Rockwool is now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of stone wool insulation. The company’s pipes and tanks section offers pipe sections, wired mats, and lamella mats made from non-combustible stone wool.

With over 11,000 employees worldwide, Rockwool has several production facilities in the UK producing its stone wool insulation. Key properties include fire resistance, thermal conductivity from 0.034 to 0.040 W/mK, and suitability for temperatures up to 1000°C. Rockwool pipe insulation is lightweight, durable, and environmentally friendly.

Kingspan

Headquartered in Ireland, Kingspan is a global leader in insulation and building envelope solutions. Kingspan rubber and plastic foams provide efficient pipe insulation for pipework systems.

Kingspan Kooltherm FM Pipe Insulation is a fibre-free, CFC/HCFC-free rigid phenolic foam with thermal conductivity from 0.018 to 0.023 W/mK. Kooltherm pipes meet BS 476 Class 0 fire rating and minimize condensation under HVAC and plumbing pipes. With manufacturing across the UK, Kingspan insulation accounts for over one-third of the British market.

Armaflex

Armaflex flexible elastomeric foam tubing and sheets provide reliable condensation control and thermal efficiency. Part of Germany’s Armacell, Armaflex is the world’s first flexible foam for thermal equipment insulation.

With thermal conductivity from 0.032 to 0.036 W/mK, Armaflex pipe insulation withstands temperatures from -50°C to +110°C. Armaflex Ultima has a 25+ year life expectancy.meeting stringent fire standards. Armacell UK provides nationwide availability and supports partner installers.

Kaimann

Germany’s Kaimann GmbH produces technical insulation products including elastomeric rubber foam pipes. Its Kaiflex ST line provides thermal and acoustic insulation for pipework.

With thermal conductivity ranging from 0.036 to 0.042 W/mK, Kaiflex insulation withstands temperatures from -40°C to +105°C. It has excellent moisture resistance and delivers up to 30% faster installation than comparable insulations per Kaimann. The company supplies products directly in the UK.

Knauf Insulation

Knauf Insulation is part of Germany’s Knauf Group and manufactures glass wool, rock wool, wood wool, and extruded polystyrene insulators. It supplies ECO Duct Wrap, Pipe Sections, and Earthwool pipe insulation in the UK market.

With thermal conductivities from 0.035 to 0.040 W/mK, Knauf’s glass mineral wool insulates pipes from -30°C to +250°C. It is Euroclass A1 non-combustible with low odor and irritancy. Knauf Insulation has local customer service and field technical advisors in the UK.

Saint Gobain

Saint Gobain is a French multinational corporation making pipe insulation through several British brands including Isover, Celotex, and Ecophon. Saint Gobain’s glass wool and polyisocyanurate insulations cover HVAC, plumbing, and industrial piping.

Key products for pipework include Isover Tech Pipe Section, a lightweight glass wool pipe section. Celotex CG5000 is a polyisocyanurate foam pipe insulation with lambda value of 0.021 W/mK. Saint Gobain provides technical design services for UK projects.

Comparison of Major Brands and Products

Materials Used in Pipe Insulation

  • Rockwool and Knauf use non-combustible stone/glass wool
  • Kingspan and Celotex have rigid plastic foam insulation
  • Armaflex and Kaimann offer flexible elastomeric foam

Temperature Ranges

  • Glass/mineral wools like Rockwool and Knauf insulate up to 250-1000°C
  • Most plastic foams withstand -50°C to +110°C like Armaflex

Condensation Control

  • Closed-cell foams from Kingspan, Armacell prevent condensation
  • Fibrous insulations require vapor barriers
  • Kaimann Kaiflex certified for zero water absorption

Sizes Available

  • Standard pipe diameters from 10mm to 1600mm
  • Preformed sections or rolls available
  • Custom shapes and sizes for valves etc.

Cost Considerations

  • Rockwool and glass wools cost effective insulation
  • Foams are middle range costs per square metre

Applications and Verticals

  • HVAC, plumbing, refrigeration, oil/gas, chemical/pharma facilities
  • District heating pipelines, power generation equipment
  • Suitable for commercial, residential, and industrial uses

Certification and Compliance

Pipe insulation must meet safety and performance standards. All major brands offer certifications such as:

Conclusion

The UK has a highly competitive pipe insulation market with both international and domestic players. Established brands like Rockwool, Armacell, and Knauf leverage their experience and scale to deliver efficient, certified insulations. 

With rising energy efficiency demands, pipework insulation continues to grow in importance. As seen in this overview, reputable manufacturers offer a range of cost-effective products for different applications. Professional installers also play a key role in ensuring proper performance and safety.

Keeping up with the latest industry standards and best practices will help facility owners and managers select the ideal insulation solutions. Proper installation and maintenance are also critical for minimizing heat loss while avoiding moisture issues.

With the wide range of excellent brands available, businesses across the UK can keep their pipes insulated for an energy efficient future.

FAQ

Who are the major pipe insulation brands in the UK?

Top brands include Rockwool, Kingspan, Armacell, Kaimann, Knauf Insulation, and Saint Gobain.

What materials do leading brands offer?

They offer stone wool, glass wool, elastomeric foam, rigid plastic foams, and more.

What industries do the brands serve?

Their pipe insulation are used in HVAC, plumbing, refrigeration, oil/gas, chemical/pharma, and more.

What temperature ranges do the pipe insulation cover?

They insulate from as low as -50°C up to +1000°C depending on material.

How do the insulation brands compare on cost?

Stone/glass wools are low cost. Foams are mid-range. Custom systems are higher cost.

What certifications do the brands have?

They offer certifications like Euroclass fire ratings, CE marking, and ISO 9001 Quality.

Where are the major brands located?

The top brands are based in Denmark, Ireland, Germany, and France.

Do the brands manufacture pipe insulation in the UK?

Yes, many have UK manufacturing plants as well as sales and distribution.

How do brands differentiate themselves?

Through unique products, performance, reputation, experience, innovation, and custom solutions.

Why choose an established pipe insulation brand?

They offer proven, certified products backed by experience and technical support.

What are rigid plastic foam insulations?

Rigid plastic foams like Kingspan Kooltherm are CFC/HCFC-free with low thermal conductivity.

What are elastomeric foam insulations?

Flexible rubber-like foams from Armacell and Kaimann with good moisture resistance.

What differentiates stone wool insulation?

Rockwool stone wool is fire resistant, non-combustible, and environmentally friendly.

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